How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

If you were to look, you’d find legends for nearly every variety of tea throughout the east. It’s been steamed and ground into powder, plucked and pan-fried, oxidized and aged deep inside caves. It was a beverage suitable for rulers and only after trade boomed did it start to spread far and wide until we come to where we are today.

Despite this vast history, tea is a relatively new fad this side of the world, and very few people know much about it. Studies are being done to show all the health benefits of green tea, pu-erh, and the like, but these are tidbits of knowledge that have many cultures smiling our way and saying, “we tried to tell you.”

There has been a small setback with this trend and that is, people want tea. You might be thinking, well that’s a good thing, isn’t it? I’d have to agree to an extent, but because the industry focuses so much on the benefits and so little on everything else, what can be an indulgent, potentially life-changing daily ritual, has many people pinching their noses and throwing it back like medicine.

Every type of tea has unique characteristics and qualities. The leaves can be picky, and to get it right there’s a bit of know-how that goes into it. I’m going to cover a few tricks to help make sure you can enjoy a near perfect pot of your favorite tea.

Green and White Tea

Specially selected early in the morning fresh white tea leaves spread curing in bamboo basket tray after harvest.Chinese silver needle white tea of premium quality. Tea orchard in the background.

Green tea tends to be the most notorious for being bad, bitter tea and that’s usually because it can be the most finicky when it comes to brewing it. Green tea can be popularly categorized in two. On the one hand, we have Chinese green tea which is harvested, pan-fried and quickly dried to prevent oxidation. Then, there’s Japanese green tea which is harvested, steamed and quickly dried. Chinese green teas are often a bit sweeter and more fragrant while Japanese green teas tend to be a deeper green color and have a grassy taste.

One of my favorite green teas is our Snow Jasmine. It’s a sweet green tea that’s very fragrant and easy to brew. But the Starfruit green is one of our most popular summer drinks. We blend some tropical fruit in with a delicate Chinese green tea. It makes a refreshing and tantalizing cup.

To make the best cup of green tea, you want to make sure to use hot water that’s at most 170. A good way to tell this without a thermometer is to keep an eye on the bubbles forming at the bottom of the pot. If they’re small and a few are starting to zig-zag to the surface, that’s perfect.

You also want to keep an eye on the time it steeps for. Green tea is great for many infusions, but you only want to steep it for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

White tea, on the other hand, is primarily a Chinese tea. It tends to be sweeter and much more delicate than green tea. That’s because white tea is made from the soft, new buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant – the tea plant. It’s quickly pan fried to prevent oxidation and then dried. Because the leaves are so young it tends to be delicate and boiled water will scorch the dried leaves. For this reason, like green tea, you want to use water at about 170. Unlike green teas, many white teas won’t get overly bitter if left to steep for long periods of time.

One of our most popular white teas is our Pink Cherry Cider. We blend our silver needle with a collection of fruits to make a pot that’s subtly sweet all on its own.

Oolong Tea

oolong green tea in olive bowl

Oolong tea tends to be the most complex flavor wise. It’s designed for multiple infusions, and for having a gradually maturing flavor as the infusions progress, and the leaves fully open. You can use fully-boiled water with this tea and steep it for about three minutes every time. Some have a tendency to get bitter, so keep an eye on it.

My favorite Oolong is our Buddha’s Favor, also known as Ti Kuan Yin. If you want to know the legend behind it, click the link here. But, by far the crowd favorite had been our Blackberry Oolong. We mix premium rolled oolong leaves with dried blackberries, elderberries and more to make a deep red elixir. It’s sweet and tangy and fantastic iced.

Black Tea

Good-Tea_Li-Zhi-Hong-Cha_56B9096_b-800x800

Black teas are typically very strong and dark teas. The leaves have been fully oxidized after harvesting which gives the leaves their dark color and flavor. You can use boiled water but only steep it for two minutes. Some black teas can get very bitter if over infused. Our Keemun is a traditional Chinese black tea. If you want to learn more about it, you can read a little here. It’s a robust black tea with some nutty, chocolate notes and pairs wonderfully with warm milk and honey.

Pu-erh

Black pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea is one I consider to be right up there with herbal teas in terms of how easy it is to brew, especially if you like your tea as strong as I do. This is a fermented tea that actually came about by happy accident.

You can use fully-boiled water. Pu-erh is a dark tea without much of the bitterness and astringency of a black tea. Some can get bitter if left in the water too long, but I find a good quality of pu-erh will often get deeper and darker the longer it steeps. If you want more infusions out of it (and this tea can go for a long time,) then steep it for about four minutes before removing the leaves.

I prefer classic pu-erh blocks myself. I can’t resist the deep woodsy notes and the full mouth flavor. Our Strawberry Slim comes in at a close second. The strawberries give you a slash of summer flavor that’s mellowed out by the lingering effect of pu-erh tea.

Herbal Tea

Cup of herbal tea

Most people think boiled water when it comes to Herbal teas, but did you know some are prone to burning the same way a white tea would? When you have an herbal tea with lots of flowers it’s best to use under boiled water like with white or green tea. The good thing is, it’s difficult to make a bad cup of herbal tea. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavor.

A few more tricks for the road

One of the biggest downsides to tea bags and tea balls if the lack of room the leaves have to move around. Tea likes to breathe and it likes movement. You’ll get the best flavor by steeping your tea in a pot where it can move, and to stir the leaves around while it’s steeping.

For Iced tea, the trick is to make a tea concentrate first. You add a heaping tablespoon of leaves to the pot and steep it in about half the amount of water you normally would use before pouring it over a cup full of it. That way, when the ice melts, it’ll dilute the concentrate and give you a fully flavorful cup of refreshing iced tea.

If you have any questions about tea leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer! We sell our teas online too, just click this link here to visit our website and check it out.

~Tea Barista

Matcha Coconut Ice Cream

Green tea matcha ice cream scoop in white bowl. Copy space. Top view

Light, refreshing, and packed with antioxidants & fat-burning properties!

It’s impossible to imagine summer without ICE CREAM! We have an easy & healthy DIY ice cream recipe to share with you…Matcha Coconut Ice Cream. Try it with either Original Matcha or Raspberry Matcha.


Ingredients

  • 2 15oz cans of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated over night
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Matcha
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
    • chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, cacao nibs, & shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix together with an electric mixer or food processor until thoroughly combined.
  3. Line a freezer safe pan with parchment paper (we recommend a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan).
  4. Pour ice cream mixture into pan and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Place in the freezer overnight to allow ice cream to fully freeze.
  6. Allow to sit on the counter for about 10 minutes to soften before serving. Enjoy!

Green tea matcha ice cream scoop in white bowl on a grey stone background

Try this recipe at home? Tag us on Instagram, @thegreenteahouseus

TEA-Garitas Anyone? DIY Tea Cocktails

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Cinco de Mayo is almost here & margaritas are on everyone’s mind! Put a spin on a classic & get mixing with TEA.

A lot of restaurants & bars use margarita mix, which is loaded with sugar, empty calories & artificial ingredients (leaving you with a terrible headache the next morning!)

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Try a TEA-GARITA instead! Tea is a healthy low-calorie mixer.

Celebrate while replenishing your body with antioxidants, vitamins & minerals. Plus you’ll love trying a unique & delicious take on a classic.

Get steeping at home with 3 Refreshing, Healthy & Easy Tea Cocktail Recipes!


 

Watermelon Margarita

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Silver Tequila
  • 3 oz Sweet Watermelon Tea
  • 1 tbs Agave
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt (for rimming glass) optional
  • fresh berries to garnish

Directions:

  1. Steep 1 tbs of Sweet Watermelon in 3 oz boiling water for 3 minutes. While tea is steeping sweeten with agave.
  2. Strain out tea leaves & let tea cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. While tea is cooling, prepare cocktail glass with salt rim if desired (*see below for easy DIY tip). 
  4. Fill glass with ice then pour in tea & tequila.
  5. Garnish & enjoy!

 


 

Starfruit Green Margarita

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
  • 3 oz Starfruit Green Tea
  • 2 tbs fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbs Agave
  • pineapple slices

Directions:

  1. Steep 1 tbs Starfruit Green in 3 oz of under-boiled water (170°F) for 2 minutes. While tea is steeping sweeten with agave.
  2. Strain out tea leaves & let tea cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. While tea is cooling, prepare cocktail glass & lime juice.
  4. Fill glass with ice then pour in tea & tequila.
  5. Top it off with lime juice, garnish & enjoy!

 


Tangerine Ginger Margarita

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Gold Tequila
  • 3 oz Tangerine Ginger Tea
  • 2 tbs fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbs Agave
  • lemon/orange slice to garnish

Directions:

  1. Steep 1 tbs Tangerine Ginger in 3 oz of boiling water for 3 minutes. While tea is steeping sweeten with agave.
  2. Strain out tea leaves & let cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. While tea is cooling prepare cocktail glass & orange juice.
  4. Fill glass with ice then pour in tea & tequila.
  5. Top it off with orange juice, garnish & enjoy!

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Enjoy your Tea-Garitas & celebrations, and be safe!

Try this recipe at home? Tag us in your photos on Instagram, we’d love to hear from you!


Enjoy your margarita with salt?

*To Rim Glass: Run a lime wedge along the rim of your cocktail glass. Pour 1/4 cup coarse salt onto a small plate. Hold glass upside down & twist the rim in the salt back & forth until its evenly coated.*

Iced Pumpkin Cream Spice Latte

pcs latteRelieve your spring allergies, fight inflammation & reduce stress with ROOIBOS!

Get steeping at home & try our Pumpkin Cream Spice Latte. A warm rooibos blend with masala spice, vanilla, clove, dried pumpkin & cardamom.

It’s delicious iced or hot!

 

ICED PUMPKIN CREAM SPICE LATTE

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Steep teas in 8 oz hot water for 3 minutes.
  2. While tea is steeping stir in sweetener.
  3. Fill cup with 8 oz of ice.
  4. Pour steeped tea over ice.
  5. Top with milk, a dash of cinnamon & enjoy!

Thanksgiving Tea Recipes

Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Make the holiday extra special this year with our bestselling fall tea…Pumpkin Spice. It’s delicious as a latte, and you can bake with it too.

Rooibos tea blended with dried pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, coriander & cardamom.  

ROOIBOS HEALTH BENEFITS:

– Anti Inflammatory

– Rich in Zinc, Calcium & Magnesium

– Boosts Immune System

– May Clear Complexion

– Relieves Stress & Tension


Enjoy our Thanksgiving recipes below…

Pumpkin Cream Spice Latte & Pumpkin Spice Cookies 

*Add 2 tbs of Pumpkin Spice to your pie crust recipe for some extra spice*


PUMPKIN CREAM SPICE LATTE:

Ingredients:

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Directions:

  1. Steep Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Cream Chai in 14 oz hot water for 3 minutes.
  2. Sweeten to taste, then strain out tea leaves after steeping.
  3. Froth milk and pour over tea.
  4. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream & a dash of cinnamon. ENJOY!

 

PUMPKIN SPICE COOKIES

img_5789Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Pumpkin Spice tea
  • 2 sticks softened unsalted butter

Directions:

1. Mix flour, salt, confectioner’s sugar & tea with wire whisk in large bowl.
2. Add softened butter to flour and mix with spatula until combined.
3. Place dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
4. Roll dough flat (1/4 inch thick), cut into desired shape & place 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.
5. Bake 12-13 minutes at 370 degrees.